Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Little Fish in a Big Pond

The office where I work borders one of the busiest intersections on campus - Volunteer Boulevard and Andy Holt Drive. My office is right across the street from the library and business building - also very busy places. In the morning and at noon, there are two campus police officers at this intersection. It's their job to make sure cars and pedestrians get along.

Last week, my Master's Student son told me that he saw the entire student population of his Alma Mater cross the street in front of him at this intersection. There were 1,500 students at Berea College. That might be about half of the senior class here at UT. Needless to say, this is a very big and very busy campus. Makes me feel like a little fish in a rather ginormous pond.

What do I do? How do I stay connected and not get lost? How to I participate in student life here in the big pond? I have several suggestions:

1. Form a study group in some of my classes. My Geology prof has already suggested that to us. My Geography prof has made us do some in-class assignments that involve breaking down into groups. That's a good thing.

2. Get to know the faculty and staff in my major department as well as the department where I work. I am getting to know my boss better. That's always a good thing, too.

3. Get to know at least one other person in my classes. If I see them in the library, at Starbucks or somewhere else, I can ask them, "Hey, aren't you in my (whatever) class? How do you like it so far?"

4. Talk to the people who serve me, get to know their names. For instance, I was at the Starbucks in the library so much last semester, the baristas and I got to know one another's names. Today, as I was leaving the Student Union, two of the baristas were behind me. I stopped and talked to Amanda. She's graduating this year.

5. Practice random acts of kindness - hold the elevator door, pick up a dropped pen, pencil, folder or umbrella, thank the teacher when I leave the class, start a pot of coffee at the office.

Even though I am a little fish, I can still make my presence known. How about you? Do you have any suggestions for becoming a noticeable little fish? Share them! Stay tuned . . .

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